Jesse Lawrence has been in media and technology for 20 years. Before TicketIQ, he worked at MediaMath and IAC. He began his career as a writer.
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Among the many myths that were imposed in 2018, perhaps none were as welcome to the crowd of fans of live events as the fantasy of the sold-out show. In fact, as the ticket market has moved to embrace new technology, the new-found transparency has had a main victim: the Sellout.
The most prominent denial of the sporting goods sale for 2018 came from Washington, DC.
Originally reported by the Washington Post, the Washington Redskins officially ended their decade-long season ticket waiting list in June. Once they were claimed to have 200,000 fans, the reality of the Redskins’ lawsuit hadn’t been this rosy since the glory days of Riggins and Theisman. In 2018, the Redskins have been selling individual game tickets like never before, even using the secondary market as a favorable point of comparison.
Other prominent examples of this change include the Golden State Warriors, who, despite having sold 100% of their regular season games, had hundreds of tickets available for Game 1 of the NBA Finals in the minutes before kickoff.
If the Redskins and Warriors signaled a change from the sell-off era in sports, Taylor Swift Touring Reputation did the same for music. Having wrapped up earlier this month, Reputation ended as the highest-grossing US tour in history, despite a series of articles criticizing the artist for not having sold many shows. Ironically, it turns out that the biggest factor in his record success was exactly that: not selling.
Rather than a lack of demand, these unsold tickets to high-profile events are the result of the latest trend in the ticketing industry – make sure you have tickets to sell when fans want to buy them. Anyone who has bought tickets on the Internet knows that the most active purchase window is in the days and hours before an event.
Before the Internet, while this late-night market existed, it was contained on street corners and managed by local brokers. For most of the 20th century, managing this secondary market was a job ticket owners were comfortable outsourcing. However, with its unlimited reach and real-time distribution, Internet-based sales dramatically changed their comfort level, removing the ticket owner from the supply chain and costing them billions in margin. He also created a product category that became one of the worst, if not the worst, on the internet.
If it weren’t for the universal appeal of live events, ticketing as a product would have died with Pets.com . Instead, teams, artists, and promoters became the poster children for the power of the internet to disrupt. The response from many ticket owners was to simply hang a “Sold Out” sign at the box office in the weeks, days and hours before the game, one that is just now starting to retire.
To understand why that happened, it’s important to recognize that when the internet took off, teams were primarily in the season ticket business, while artists and promoters were in record sales. Selling tickets at the last minute, “on demand” was simply not an approach. Yet the internet turned that secondary market niche into a $ 10 to $ 15 billion product category at its peak – two to three times the size of the primary market on which it was based.
To compete in this ever-active market, ticketing technology has received billions of dollars of investment in the last decade, with the goal of making it more web-friendly. In the last two years, Ticketmaster, Seatgeek and Eventbrite They have announced all the “open platform” models that make it easy to sell tickets on places like Facebook and Youtube like it does on Stubhub.
In January, Ticketmaster. and the NFL announced a new platform agreement that, for the first time, allows teams and leagues to define their own distribution ecosystem. As one of the largest destinations for online ticket purchases, sites like Stubhub and my company, TicketIQ, have become direct distribution channels for fans in the new ticket market.
Before we credit the technology to kill the sale on our own, it is worth asking whether the decline in sales is simply due to exorbitant ticket prices and increased competition for consumer attention. While there is no doubt that it has become more difficult to get people off their couches for average events, the solid growth of the experience economy suggests the opposite trend.
According to a McKinsey report from December 2017, millennials spend 60% more on live experiences than GenXers, all looking not only for a genuine connection, but also for new content on social media. Specifically for the Reputation tour, secondary market last-minute tickets were actually 35% cheaper than 1989, making buying tickets on the day more affordable than ever.
As for the Redskins, while their 2018 season has not turned out as expected, at the box office, they have set themselves up for success for years to come. When demand increases, whether as a result of a new stadium or a championship race, they will benefit directly and handsomely. As a benchmark for the kind of earnings they could expect, the Financial Times reported that Taylor Swift’s Reputation gross income increased by $ 1.4 million, including two dates in July at Fedex Field, home of the Redskins.
In “Look What You Did”, the sixth song on the Reputation album, Taylor Swift sings about “games” past, “a slanted stage” and “unfair disadvantage” for which she now seeks retribution. As a statement about his artistic and commercial stature, it is clear that he no longer wants to play well. As well as a jab at his artistic nemesis, Kanye West, It also reads like a sendoff to the ticket market of yesteryear that has frustrated consumers for nearly two decades.
Despite claims that she sold out to her fans to achieve Reputation success, the numbers mean she’s a model we’ll see a lot more of in the years to come. Regardless of how you feel when you force fans to Buy, Like, and View to get their place in the ticket line, the good news for the ticket market as a whole is that it was their decision.